So much easier to predict standings when there are, like, four games left
EAST (qualified teams only)
3. NY Rangers
5. New Jersey
8. Tampa Bay
WEST (qualified teams only)
7. San Jose
Frankly, I would much prefer if Edmonton and Toronto could make it as well, but if it's not Tampa Bay, it would be Atlanta. I cheer for Canadian teams, b/c whole cities are moved by their teams making the playoffs. Seriously, when the Habs make the playoffs, every most non-hockey person starts inquiring about last night's game scores.
It will be either Edmonton or Vancouver, preferably both, but realistically just one of the two. Edmonton lost to Detroit tonight, and Vancouver was stopped by an outlandish goalie yesterday evening. I wish Colorado didn't make it, just b/c they've always made the playoffs, despite mid-season slumps in past years. In the east, New Jersey just came out of nowhere to secure a playoff spot tonight. The Habs need 3 points (either by winning them, or having the 9th position team to lose 'em) to clinch a playoff berth. Again, I wish the worse for Tampa Bay, b/c I am curious to see how, potentially either a high-octane offense in Atlanta, or a Toronto team revived by the addition of a goalie-not-Belfour-or-Tellqvist would do.
I would like it that the Habs make it to the 6th or even, hah, 5th position in the East, but that seems nearly impossible with four games remaining, and New Jersey now 4 points ahead (three games remaining), and Philly, 6 points ahead (four games remaining), and each team playing each other (so that the Habs would need to win their four last, and expect either Philly to win one or none versus New Jersey). Man, I can't wait for playoffs to start.
3. NY Rangers
7. New Jersey
(Toronto wins at least three out of four. Atlanta loses at least one (but its schedule is like super easy - Washington x2, Boston and Florida). Tampa Bay loses remaining three. And then hope that Ottawa loses only the one against Toronto, and that Carolina loses to Buffalo.)
6. San Jose
(Colorado must lose all - incidentally all away games versus the three Western Canadian teams. Edmonton needs to win both last two against Colorado and Anaheim, and Vancouver must win the home-away versus San Jose and the last game of the season against Colorado. Alternatively, if Colorado wins against Calgary, then San Jose should lose all three remaining games - but that would suck, b/c they are such an interesting comeback team, just like Anaheim.)
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